Customer Review

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100% Simple. 100% Minds., 17 Jan. 2013
This review is from: 5x5 Live (Audio CD)
I found out about Simple minds 27 years ago (1985)at the tender age of 13 by 'accidentally' listening to the "Once upon a time" album. At the time I hadn't made the connection between the band and "Don't you forget about me" that was being played everywhere as I was into the Duran Duran hype. I bought 'OUAT' simply because the cover and the band logo looked interesting (the first and last time I bought a record that way, it's funny how destiny works sometimes). Fascinated after a few days of listening to it (such a great transitory album from chart pop to more serious stuff), a friend of mine invited me to his house to listen to his brother's Simple Minds records. Once the first notes of 'New Gold Dream' came out of the speakers, I was flabbergasted by the sheer beauty of the sound and it was the first time I actually cried listening to a record. The rest is history, I was drawn into the magical, dark, strange, futuristic world of the first records and I am still pretty much discovering new levels everytime I listen to them (especially "Sons and fascination / Sister Feelings call").

For me, the beginning of the end for this special band was signalled by the apalling (save for a few brief moments) 'Live in the City of Light' live album. Every single album the Minds made since then was really insignificant and added nothing to their myth. There were entertaining moments, but very few of these songs really matter in the greater scheme of things. So now, after 25 years of being irrelevant (except for the dedicated fans, who painfully watched Jim and Charlie becoming a mockery of themselves) this double live album comes along. I 've long stopped watching them live, I think Jim is just a shadow of the thin, ethereal, pale Prince with the deep voice that could sweep you off your feet and lift you above the crowd. (But aren't we all the shadow of what we used to be?).

Against my better judgement I decided to order the CD online and have another go at the Minds (chances of being let down once again were above the 90% mark in my mind). Boy, was I wrong! 25 years after listening to "NGD" for the first time, my eyes became watery again, a testament to the greatness of the early material. No "Don't yous", no "la la la la", no gospel backing vocals, no "See the lights" crap. Almost all songs (the ones from NGD seem a bit out of place and slightly inferior to previous live incarnations) are extremely vibrant and the arrangements are tight and firm. Like caged animals that have waited too long for their release, they jump forth soaring, full of energy and pulsating with new life. What's very prominent here, is the retention of the original atmosphere and where new elements have been added, they enhance that. Just listen to Charlie's guitar in "This Fear of Gods", its cold, gripping essence is multiplied by his strategically placed riffs while at the same time its monotonous, repetitive beat has gained some variety that makes it so enjoyable. Jim's voice is equally vibrant (surprisingly) and he seems to thoroughly enjoy singing the songs.

For die-hard fans of the Minds who still live and swear by the majestic brilliance of the pioneering early work, this is a total climax. I cannot stop listening to "70 cities as Love brings the Fall" (their best chorus EVER, so shamelessly neglected all these years), "Room", "I travel", "This fear of Gods", "Pleasantly disturbed", "Thirty Frames a second", "Scar", "Changeling" and all the other buried jewels. My only complaint is the lack of my personal favorite "Earth that you walk upon", maybe next time eh?

I hear they are in the process of releasing yet another album soon. My only hope is that unearthing all these brilliant memories will help them recapture some of their lost genious. (keeping my fingers crossed!)
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Apr 2013 00:59:24 BDT
Mark says:
I love it all, you're being a bit tough on the late 80's stuff. It's all great

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2013 10:25:30 BDT
Sorry, but it's crap. Is it better than Roxette, A-HA and the like? Definitely yes. Does it have ANYTHING to do with what the band produced from 79-84 in terms of originality, pioneering mentality and sheer artistic brilliance? NO. I too sometimes enjoy bits and pieces from GNFTNW or maybe the last couple of albums, but there is just no comparison. I'm pretty happy they are up and about scratching their heads for new stuff, but nothing produced in the past 25 years even approaches the massive genious of the first 5 years.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2014 01:25:23 BDT
A. Golds says:
It might be crap in your opinion, but the later albums are still great, just different to their earlier albums which as you agree are in a league of their own.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Oct 2014 01:25:57 BDT
A. Golds says:
Agreed!
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